Shiloh Baptist Church today is one of the largest Baptist churches in Kentucky today that is mostly African American. The church has become well known throughout the city of Lexington and Kentucky as a whole.
The history of the church goes back all the way to April 1896 when it was first created by thirty former members of the Main Street Baptist Church and by six former members of the Liberty Baptist Church. They began having services in an old barn on Thomas Street, which is today Arbor Grove Way. Shortly after moving into the barn, the church moved to a shotgun house on Thomas Street in October 1896 and stayed there for about a year until the construction of a new building was finished, also on Thomas Street.
Once the new building was completed, Shiloh Baptist Church stayed there until 1922. In 1922 – 23, the church added on renovations and more space to accompany its continued growth in numbers. By 1963, despite the several different renovations and additions to the church, Shiloh had grown too large and needed a new space for the church to operate. In order for this to occur the church bought a building from the Felix Memorial Baptist Church for $55,000 dollars in October of 1963. Shiloh Baptist Church has remained there ever since and the congregation has continued to grow steadily since its creation in 1896.
The following pastors led the Shiloh Baptist Church congregation during the critical years under study:
– Rev. Thomas Horace Smith (January 1932 – September 1962); see a picture of Rev. Smith and his family in Gerald L. Smith’s Lexington, Kentucky (Black America Series, Arcadia Publishing, 2002)
– Rev. J.B. Haile (October 1962 – May 1965); and,
– Rev. G. H. Childs, Sr. (September 1965 – April 1996).